Right in the middle of England with historic houses and plenty of rural countryside where you can blow the cobwebs away, Leicestershire makes a great escape. We have started our collection of boutique hotels in Leicestershire with Stapleford Park, which has 55 rooms, suites and cottages set within 500 acres of glorious Capability Brown landscaped grounds near Melton Mowbray. A quintessential luxury country house hotel in Leicestershire, Stapleford Park has a 18-hole championship golf course and offers shooting, riding, archery and falconry within its grounds. There are also plenty of activities for children - think duck herding, treasure hunts and summer camps in the holidays - while stressed out mums who need a break can head to the Clarins Gold spa in the former stables for treatments and relaxation.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from Stapleford Park, start exploring in the nearby town of Melton Mowbray, famous for being the home of pork pies (the surrounding villages are renowned for their Stilton cheese dairies). Visit Burrough House at Burrough on the Hill, which has five acres of manicured gardens and the Bower House, where Edward and Mrs Simpson met in the 1930s. Grantham, Little Dalby and Lyddington are all attractive rural towns with honey-coloured stone cottages and handsome parish churches. Shoppers should head to the Stoneygate, a leafy village on the outskirts of Leicester where you’ll find a selection of independent boutiques while in the city itself, the Curve theatre is renowned nationwide for its excellent stage productions. Leicestershire has a lot to offer sports fans and outdoorsy types too. There are horse trials and equestrian events, polo matches at the Rutland Polo Club in the village of Langham and various shooting opportunities depending on the season. Walkers can attempt part of the Leicestershire Round, a 100-mile circular walk around the county, while Rutland Water, Europe’s largest manmade lake, is perfect for watersports such as wind surfing, sailing, canoeing and fly-fishing. Children will enjoy the Butterfly and Aquatic Centre or taking a ride on a barge on the Grand Union Canal which flows through the Foxton Locks near Market Harborough in the south of Leicestershire. And motor enthusiasts should make a pilgrimage to Donington Race Circuit to see an impressive, private collection of Grand Prix cars, which has been built up over the years by owner Tom Wheatcroft.
After a tiring day out, head back to Stapleford Park, one of the best boutique hotels in Leicestershire for traditional afternoon tea in the billiards room or out on the terrace. For dinner, choose between the formal, elegant Grinling Gibbons restaurant - where you can tuck into dishes such as loin of venison with chestnut puree and roast parsnips or pan fried halibut with clam and spring onion chowder - or the more relaxed Pavilion which overlooks the golf course. And if you want to eat out nearby, The Berkeley Armsin the village of Wymondham is an award-winning pub perfect for a ploughman’s lunch or a delicious dinner made with local produce.
Minutes from Rutland Water in Leicestershire, Stapleford Park is the quintessential British sporting country estate. This historic country house hotel boasts a luxury spa, 18 hole championship golf course and excellent facilities for children.